Raspberry honey lemongrass preserves, small batch

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Fresh-tasting, fragrant, and easy to make. Lemongrass and raspberries are lovely and bright together.

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If you’re new to preserve-making, this is one of the first you should try as it’s fairly quick (from raw fruit to hot, sealed jar of jam in 1 hour!), it’s a very small batch (one jar! one!) and is a little different from most jams you can buy in-store. No ridiculously involved preparation needed. Adding lemongrass requires no more than slicing up some fresh stalks and letting them perfume the fruit.

I made this specifically to fill a cake, so it’s a little more tart than I’d usually make in order to balance the sponge and buttercream. But it needn’t be limited to sandwiching a cake: if it’s too tart, you can drizzle over extra honey onto whatever delightful thing you’re having with it.

Adding lemon zest to a lemongrass preserve might seem pointless, but they really work together. The almost peppery citrus zest emphasises the fragrance of the lemongrass, which is more herbal with a hint of sweet blossom. Both linger against the background of bright soft berries. They quietly announce themselves and make you think about what else is in the preserve. In case you worry about a soapily perfumed preserve–this is subtle. Try it.

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RASPBERRY HONEY LEMONGRASS PRESERVES

Makes enough to fill 1 x 340g jar (including all lemongrass bits) plus a few tablespoons. Unopened and stored in a cool, dry place, the sealed jar keeps for 1 year. You can also store in tupperware; keep chilled and use within 1 week.

Adapted from honey sweetened raspberry preserves on Food In Jars. 

This gives a fairly tart preserve but can be adjusted to taste. If you don’t want to use honey, see my original raspberry lemongrass jam recipe. I don’t mind having lemongrass bits, but after macerating, you can always pick them out and put them in a spice ball or infuser bag for the boiling stage.

Particularly wonderful in sandwich cakes. This recipe should yield a preserve which is just set enough to fill a cake without oozing everywhere. I imagine it’d be lovely in yoghurt or with French toast with some extra honey, too, or maybe as part of a pastry filling.

ingredients
300g/10.5 oz/2 packed cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
275g/9 3/4 oz/bulgingly heaped 3/4 cup runny honey, lightly flavoured (more to taste if you like)
2 fat stalks lemongrass, sliced into 4 – 6 diagonal sections, using only the sections near the bulb which contain purple rings in the centre (these are the most aromatic parts)
Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, from half a fat lemon or most of 1 smaller one

instructions

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and leave to macerate for 30 minutes at room temperature (you could leave it for longer, but after 2 hours you must chill it).

Meanwhile, get your jars sterilising and put a saucer in the freezer.

Once ready, warm the fruit mixture over a medium heat. As it gives off juice, taste: err on the side of letting it be sweeter than you want, so add more honey to taste. (The amounts listed are the bare minimum to set the jam.)

After you’ve seasoned the jam, let it come up to an excited bubble. Cook on a medium-high heat for about 7 – 10 minutes, or until the foam subsides into lazy bubbles and mixture darkens and thickens slightly. Skim, if you like, but only bother removing the thickest, palest froth. I give the mixture a stir now and then, concentrating where it tends to catch, which is usually (for me, at least) the part where the sides meet the base of the pot.

When you’ve reached that exciting stage, remove pot from heat and test for set. After sitting on a cold saucer for 1 minute, a small blob should stay round and wrinkle slightly when you push a finger through. As the mixture sits off the heat, you might find the surface wrinkles when you move the spoon.

Do a final (and much more careful) taste and adjustment of sweetness and sourness with honey and lemon juice, then pot the preserve while still hot. Allow to cool undisturbed. Alternatively, store in tupperware, cool swiftly, and chill.

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